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Criminals Using Drones To Find Cannabis Farms and Steal Crops

serviscope_minor Re:Where? (239 comments)

Halesowen? Cradley Heath? Oldbury? Shropshire? Where are these towns, Middle Earth?

Specifically, the Shire.


Criminals Using Drones To Find Cannabis Farms and Steal Crops

serviscope_minor Re:So much nonsense in terms (239 comments)

LED lamps do not put out nearly as much heat as High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps. I have a (disconnected) 400W HPS that I could easily have cooked on the top of the reflector, and probably broiled meat directly beneath it. I replaced it with a 144W LED floodlamp

I'm guessing that the LEDs are putting out much less light, since the efficiency of HPS lamps is sustantially above most commercial LEDs. However that may be OK since the sodium vapour lamps are skewed towards orange, probably making them less good per lumen for plant growing.

The other thing is that HPS lamps have an immense power to size ratio, meaing most of the substantial amount of head it emitted in a small region.

Likewise if you replaced your setup with quality electronic ballast mercury fluorescents (not as good as HPS) you'd find the whole thing only got warm since you'd be spreading the head out over a low area.


Bill Gates Patents Detecting, Responding To "Glassholes"

serviscope_minor Re:The difference... (140 comments)

This is emotional and illogical. 'Glass' does not 'threaten that', being observed 'threatens that'.

Nope, your premise is false, so your conclusion is invalid. There's a difference between being observed (hearsay) and having your actions recorded in perpetuity, possibly publicly.

2 days ago

Bill Gates Patents Detecting, Responding To "Glassholes"

serviscope_minor Re:The difference... (140 comments)

It's a little more than that, though... remember the story with the Glasshole in the bar from last month who got attacked?

I seem to remember that the problem was some patron was aggressively annoyed that the glass-user might be filming them so the glass-users response was to start filming them. The problem was bery much idiots in that case.

That bar - along with most bars - have security cameras. Cameras that are casually pointed at people the whole time.

No, they are qualatatively different. The cameras go on a loop, old data is discarded and no one looks at it unless something happens. Most of it is forgotten, not uploaded to a company which rather creepily claimed to want go right up to the border of being creepy (Schmidt's words, not mine), or be plasteres on the persons blog in perpetuity. Not only that, but venues which make a point of having repeat customers decidedly do not post embarrassing security camera footage all over the internet.

Taking a photo (with the flash off) can look exactly like the person is texting.

If you're taking a picture of the floor, or a selfie from a very strange angle, then sure. To take a photograph of anything interesting, you need to hold the phone up and that's obvious.

2 days ago

Bill Gates Patents Detecting, Responding To "Glassholes"

serviscope_minor Re:The difference... (140 comments)

So your suggesting that Glass be made more covert?

No, I'm saying why people don't like it. I'm not suggesting anything in particular as to what one should do with glass.

Because that's the only difference - the ability to play it back. Everything witnessed by the Glass device is being witnessed by the wearer as well. It isn't the OBSERVATION that's the problem, but the playback.

And the recording. Yes, I dare say it will be a problem if (not when---it's not clear that the brain records all things for all time). People do generally like things to be forgotten, because people are incapable of acting their best at all times. We all have off days and things we like to do that we don't necessarily want to broadcast to the world (even if they're not illegal).

Basically people like privacy and glass threatens that. Privacy is a reasonable thing to want. There is a quite reasonable expectation of limited privacy in a public place: people don't want actions to be logged and catalogued for all time when in a public place. That's also not unreasonable.

2 days ago

Bill Gates Patents Detecting, Responding To "Glassholes"

serviscope_minor Re:Same problem as the anti-glasshole movement (140 comments)

This has an obvious flaw... It's easy to spot cameras that are *in plain sight* however there are

However nothing. Most people aren't worried about hidden cameras because recent history shows they're not a problem: you have to go out of your way to use them and most people aren't interested enough to do that and most people aren't interesting enough to do it to. Basically the risk is small.

The covertness isn't the problem. The casualness is, and also the fact that once the photo is taken, it's going to be uploaded to google who are interested in tracking everything about everyone for the purpose of pushing ads.

That's the difference.

2 days ago

Bill Gates Patents Detecting, Responding To "Glassholes"

serviscope_minor The difference... (140 comments)

The thing that glass advocates don't seem to realise is that people don't like the surveillance potential.

The thing is people don't worry about hidden cameras. We know they exist and anyone can buy them, but frankly most people don't. Mostly people know they aren't interesting enough to be targeted by some private investigator, and most people aren't interested in covertly filming everyone they encounter. We know there's a small risk and so are not worried about covert surveillance. Covert stuff has been available for ages and isn't a problem, in practice.

The thing is glass isn't covert, so clearly the covertness isn't the problem. The problem is that people get irritated when people are casually pointing cameras at them the whole time. They're not interesting enough to be targeted so that's not the problem, the problem is the casualness of the thing. Not the problem with cell phones since its an effort to take photos and obvious when it's happening. It's the causalness where people wind up being photographed and catalogued by one of the world's largest companies where previously there wasa uninteresting enough to be anonymous that bothers people.

This doesn't mean glass is inherently bad, and the HUD has useful applications. But waving a camera in someones face does have a tendency to piss people off.


The other sort of advocates claiming we're "post privacy" can pull their heads out of their asses. Lack of privacy is literally worse than torture for some people: it was reported as being the single hardest thing to cope with long term in concentration camps by some of the surviors.

2 days ago

San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

serviscope_minor Re:Simple problem, simple solution (356 comments)

No "historical preservation" crap,

Then you'll end up with nothing but a grim sea of concrete. Once you have that, why bother living in SF at all?

Seriously though if you just hammer out buildings with no thought to urban planning you are opening yourself for a whole world of pain. The UK did this in the 60s and stuck up vast numbers of housing estates. It solved the problems for a short time, until they turned into ghettos of poverty, crime and depravation.

Let's face it, the Endangered Species Act was passed because people cared about charismatic megafauna, not snail darters or burrowing owls. As things currently stand it's primarily a tool of NIMBYs.

Really, is it?

sound engineering reason not to.

I am an engineer. As an engineer you can not simply ignore externalities. Sure a uilding has to have it's central column in tact and the beams and girders have to be right and the foudations stable enough. But that's not sufficient. You're also creating a building for people to live or work in. If you ignore the externalities, you may end up creating a sink hole, and the building will be torn down in 30 or 40 years, covered in graffiti and with all its windows smashed.

2 days ago

Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

serviscope_minor Re:Are you kidding (794 comments)

The European governing elites are far more removed from what average Europeans want than American politicians are from average Americans.


2 days ago

Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

serviscope_minor Re:Are you kidding (794 comments)

and you're advocating restricting your own political power and participation.

So? Some people actually have morals.

2 days ago

Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

serviscope_minor Re:Slashdot is ridiculous (571 comments)

That was me, and its not Dubious.

Yeah it is. You claimed that if you went to RedHat with huge wads of cash they still wouldn't do it. Unless you've tried, I doubt the veraity of that claim. I don't require proof: I'd take your word for it.

You can find a consultant to support it, Im sure, if thats any consolation.

That was my point. Being OSS, you're not beholden to the original vendor so it's less important that RedHat support it. If you really need, you can still get someone to support it.

3 days ago

Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

serviscope_minor Re:Slashdot is ridiculous (571 comments)

Arguing that Microsoft is "bad" because theyre not FOSS (which is really what you are driving at)

False premise: I made no argument about microsoft.

  The OP claimed that you couldn't get support on very old OSS software from the vendor (though this in itself is a dubious claim). I pointed out that because it's OSS, you can in fact offer anyone great wads of cash to get support because you're not dependent on the vendor.

Note how I make no claims positive or negative about microsoft. There's not even an implied claim, since apparently if you pay enough, MS will continue to offer support well past even the last final honestly we really mean it now deadline.

Ideological spiels about how Windows

You know what's worse than ideological spiels? Hallucinating the existence of idealogical spiels in the words of some hapless slashdot poster, where no such thing exists.

3 days ago

OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL

serviscope_minor Re:Backport\Upstream? Seems unlikely (288 comments)

they are choosing the greater of two evils.


Eventually supporting too many screwy and ancient systems starts to cause just so many problems that it is really, really hard to write solid, well tested, clear code. The heartbleed bug was exactly a result of this. Because of supporting so many screwy platforms, they couldn't even rely on having malloc() work well. That means they had their own malloc implementation working from internal memory pools. Had they not, they would have benefited from the modern mmap() based implementations and you'd have got a segfault rather than a dump of the process memory.

Supporting especially really old systems means having reimplementations of things which ought to be outside the scope of OpenSSL. Then you have to decide whether to always use the reimplementation or switch on demand between the custom one and the system one and whether or not to have some sort of quirk/bug correction.

This sort of stuff starts to add up and lead to a maintainance nightmare.

What OpenBSD are doing: throwing out all the accumulated crud and keeping the good parts is a fine way to proceed. It will almost certainly be portable to the other BSDs, OSX and Linux since they provide similar low level facilities. I doubt a port back to Windows would be hard because modern windows provides enough sane facilities that it's generally not too bad for heavily algorithmic code like this.

Basically there's no way for them to get started except to first rationalise the code base and then audit it.

3 days ago

Is Crimea In Russia? Internet Companies Have Different Answers

serviscope_minor Re:Let the pandering begin! (295 comments)

According to the UN, Taiwan is part of China.

Yes, but there is no meaningful definition by which Taiwan is part of China. It is politically and economically separate in every regard, and the people living in it regard it as not China. They have different laws (PRC laws have no bearing in Taiwan), a different government and an independent military. It's also got a bunch of pretend-not-embassies from quite a large number of countries including the US.

The only reason the UN don't recognise it is because China has sufficient influence to make the member states maintain a rather silly fiction.

3 days ago

Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

serviscope_minor Re:Slashdot is ridiculous (571 comments)

The thing is, you can still call MS and get them to support XP if you beg with enough money. Good luck calling RedHat and getting them to support RedHat Linux 7 (not the enterprise one, the 2002 one).

Actually I'd bet if you offered enough money you could get them to support it. But you know what? It doesn't matter if they refuse because you have the source and can pay your own person to support it if you are really desperate.

That's the nice thing about open source. You aren't dependent on the original vendor. Hell you could get someone to support any OSS if you begged with enough money whether or not the original vendor is still in business.

3 days ago

Guardian and WaPo Receive Pulitzers For Snowden Coverage

serviscope_minor Re:it still amazes and saddens me... (78 comments)

Even the ones that weren't illegal at all and that were doing a lot of good. Either you are being deliberately ignorant or...well I can't really see it any other way.

Well, how about you enlighten us with a [citation]. So far we know the NSA were spying on their own citizens, illegally spying on their allies and were being helped by GCHQ in yet more illegal spying. The only piece of vaguely positive news I heard from the whole thing was that at least GCHQ were charging the NSA for their nefarious activities, rather than doing it for free.

3 days ago

The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

serviscope_minor Re:Cash flow (687 comments)

I think you misunderstand the role of a Window Manager in the X11 stack. It's a very specific part of the stack with a very limited role. It take no part in most of what goes on.

The problem you hare having is you have the wrong definition of GUI in your head where you are using it to mean using a window manager.

I disagree. I use GUI to mean the whole system. The WM is one very small part of that system.

A GUI has a bunch of features it needs to achieve: windowing system (window manager being an example),

No: a WM is not a windowing system. X11 is the windowing system. A window manager is simply a program runing on top of X11 which moves windows around.

menuing system, interprocess communications, widget libraries.... Running a

The menuing system is provided by the widget libraries (gkt, QT, etc). The IPC is provided by X11 for things GUI related.

window manager to manager terminals doesn't mean you are using a GUI you are just using window management.

Well, perhaps. In the erly days, that would suffice, maybe now it doesn't. Nonetheless I use more than terminals. I like terminals, but I use the GUI driver for gvim, run web browsers, sometimes Eagle Cad (most definitely a GUI), sometimes LibreOffice, the GIMP, Inkscape, etc. There's also other bits and bobs, like a notification area holding icons for messaging clients (pidgn, xchat, skype), a CPU, battery and temperature monitor, some bluetooth widget and so on.

When I said "you aren't even using a GUI". I wasn't being insulting or closed minded or anything else. I was simply saying the graphical setup you are using does not contain features required to classify it as a GUI.You are essentially in the pre GUI age where you have graphics on screen.

Fair enough, but I do believe you are mistaken however.

What do you think the GStreamer library does for Gnome? Or Kstreamer does for KDELIbs. No those components are not well separated, they are meshed together where applications are just wrappers around libraries.

They play videos? I'm not sure I understand the point. The WM itself takes no part in that role. Anything GStreamer, Kstreamer, FFMPEG etc based works just fine without even a window manager running.

You are right about Terminology. That is substantially more advanced something like 2005 in terms of OSX and clearly quite advanced for Linux datatypes. I'd have to know more but I'd agree that isn't 90s technology.

I don't think OSX has any equivalent, though I haven't been following the OSX thing. Terminology starts to seriously blur the line between the commandline and the terminal. I'm deeply impressed.

As far as 1994, in 1994 I was on 64 bit Suns switching over from SunOS to Solaris. I also used AIX sometimes. I hadn't been on 8 bit in a dozen years.

Fair enough. I had a sumer job in '94. I got to use an HP (running CDE) and occasionally an SGI. 8 bits were obsolete then, but that's mostly why I could afford one of my own.

I started using Linux in 1995 on cheap home computers and FVWM was the window manager that was most popular then.

I started a few years later with Redhat 5.2. The situation was similar.

Your setup is from that time. Look at Caldera Open Desktop or RedHat from the time periods. By 1999 KDE is mature enough as a GUI that people are building whole systems around it. More or less if you aren't using an integrated GUI you are pre-1999 i.e. 1990s type system.

I'm not sure I agree. Some of the components date to then. The styling certainly does, but a lot of the core, most of it I'd argue is more modern. I mean I could use GnomeShell and GnomeTerminal, but there wouldn't be any more integration than I currently have. As far as I can see, there's no integration missing that I'd get if I was running gnome.

The X11, freedesktop.org people have created and collated a very nice set of standards which allow X11 based programs to interoperate. This is why KDE programs work perfectly with a Gnome based WM running and why they both work fine under my system. The ICCCM, XDnD protocol, tray protocol, notification protocol etc describe these things.

Mixed paradigm languages would be things like Scala or Clojure.

Ah fair enough. I was under the impression that things like Ruby and Python allowed some degree of functional type programming.

Tizen is the full GUI/OS that includes Enlightenment. What would change is all your applications and your window manager would all be using EFL so functionality like messaging and notifications could pass between layers effectively. I was saying that Terminology is not a GUI, even Enlightenment is not a GUI but Tizen does have a GUI because it layers everything on top of EFL.

Sounds neat, though in X11 land those things (notifications etc) all work across libraries because they're defined as protocols rather than API calls.

3 days ago

The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

serviscope_minor Re:Cash flow (687 comments)

Perhaps you have missed it, but in our last release we released a preview release on FreeBSD?

I had missed it. That's good to hear, to be honest. Excellent news, in fact. In that case, I withdraw my criticism over that.

I'm still very un-fond of some behaviour of the file dialog box. If you're around to listen, I'll happily elaborate.

4 days ago

The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

serviscope_minor Re:Cash flow (687 comments)

I'm not trying to dimiss people "who hate change".

Well, that's actually fair enough: some people are going to hate change no matter how beneficial. The problem is dismissing people who have thoughtfully rejected some of the recent changes as merely hating change in general.

I find myself in the latter camp, but often dismissed as hating changin.

But you can see how GNOME discussions have transitioned to Systemd,

Well, yes. systemd has been greeted with suspicion. I'm not surprised: there's a lot of FUD on both sides. One would expect it from the proponents of the system being displaced but there's been plenty of pro systemd FUD. There are also some parts of the design many people find rather dubious. I don't know. My new systems have it and I can't see any real difference, but I've not looked in detail.

The thing that has annoyed people about GNOME is that they've pretty much forced the issue on systemd. Since it's a dependency of GNOME and GNOME is the most popular environment, most distros have switched pretty much without regard to the merits. It seems odd that a desktop environment needs such deep vertical integration as KDE, LXDE and XFCE do not and are still featureful.

What I think is that people deeply resent GNOME essentially forcing them to adopt another system they dislike.

But ultimately, people are upset because we aren't adhering to status quo.

No, I think you're very fundementally misunderstanding what people are objecting to. Many people aren't objecting that the status quo is changing, they're objecting that it's changing in ways they don't like. It's very, very easy to dismiss those people simply as "hating change". I think that's a mistake to do so.

If you've been arguing like this and I'm tlaking about everyone from kernel developer to random people on the internet, you can start seeing the patterns.

Indeed, but if you've been around long enough you also start to recognise the cascade of attention defecit teenagers model. That involves generally change for the sake of it by people who don't understand the original system enough to avoid the mistakes it made and the mistakes it didn't make.

TL;DR don't confuse people disliking your changes as people disliking change in general.

4 days ago

The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

serviscope_minor Re:Cash flow (687 comments)

OK but you would agree that with your profile i.e. using a mid 1990s setup with a few slight advances, you fall pretty squarely in what most people would call the "hating change" camp.

OK yes, but I'd say that was ignorance from those people and is every bit as bad as those that do genuinely hate change. I don't hate change: I embrace it when it benefits me. I try to avoid changing things for the worse. I'm not a fan of churn for its own sake.

This I think is the problem with quite a few people at the forefront of change. They are so invested in it that they assume everyone who doesn't like what they've done must be a luddite nd therefore has an invalid opinion which is best ignored. In that case they're all too eagar to dismiss other opinions.

  Obviously you have been around long enough to deal with change better than the people freaking out about Gnome, you mostly ignore it, but I certainly don't think of you given that description as a change enthusiast or anything.

Perhaps not an enthusiast. I like new tech and seek it out. I don't however adopt wholsale change merely for its own sake. Some things I've fond were done very very well a long time ago and it's going to take something quite exceptional to improve on them.

As far as C++/BTRFS those would be examples where you clearly are a change enthusiast. A different areas of computing.

Again, I'm not sure enthusiast is right. The new things are for me just better. BTRFS is much less faffy than LVM, so makes multi-disk stuff a breeze. C++11 is just plain great. Actually, I feel the C++11 committee are quite close to me philosohically. They do adopt new stuff, but only when it really does help and try not to break old stuff without a really good reason.

Well the big changes in terminals for English speakers are transparency and tabs IMHO.

Two things I can leave, TBH. I did download one of the early terminals with transparency support then went and found a really cool desktop pic (a martian frying the thunderchild iron clad---yes it was the 90s and yes I was a teenager then) and set it up so it looked just so and (to my mind) super awesome. Then I tried to code and realised that a plain black background was actually superior. :)

It is mainly with other languages

Yeah fair enough. Though even the venerable XTerm and Fixed Semi-Condensed font are now far better in their unicode support than previously. I wouldn't know correctly rendered Hindi if it ran up and bit me on the leg, however.

Terminology, is just an Enlightenment app from the 1990s.

The first release was August 2012. It's the terminal that allows embedding of images and videos etc within the text amongst other things. It's a real GUI terminal.

  Were you using Tizen I'd see more of a move towards a GUI and away from an admittedly cool windows manger. But you aren't even using Enlightenment across the board.

Nope, I'm using FVWM since I like the way I can set things up. I'm only dimly aware of Tizen. What would it change?

Ah now I see what upset you. A windows manager is a component of a GUI but a window manager is just a small fraction of a GUI. The widget set and the interaction subsystem (event handling) are mostly not part of window managers.

I'd say barely at all. Almost all events go straight to the program in question. A very few get bounced via the window manager (basically only ones to do with window placement) so that it can draw borders etc. The compositor now eats a few extra positional based ones so it can deal with funny window placement. The WM itself has no influence on the main path of most events, or the widget set. Some WMs don't even use any widgets at all.

This is the debate that happened with KDE 1, whether wanted a GUI or just wanted fully featured window managers. If I were to ask you "what facilities does FVWM2 provide for database access over a network?" or "how does FVWM queue QoS video streams vs. non-QoS video streams?" you get an idea of what FVWM2 doesn't do that means that it isn't a GUI at all. This isn't zealotry but rather the very definition of the word "GUI".

I'm not really following to be honest. Surely the network susbystem of the kernel or router deals with QoS. The only thing the WM does is deal with placement of windows on the screen. The compositor on Wayland fills a very similar task. The components are well separated and none of the WMs including the GNOME and KDE ones have any part in playing video streams.

Exactly. FVWM2 has no idea how cut and paste works. Object communication is what GUIs have to do.

But copy/paste is handled by the X server (along with DnD). The mechanism is well specified and it's quite easy to implement. The window manager is purely a device for arranging windows on the screen. That's one of the nice parts of X is that the WM can be switched out easily and none of the mechanisms are affected. In fact it's possible to run X with no WM (unpleasant but possible), and copy/paste still works.

But if the tools actually make use of graphical objects that falls apart.

Well, to some extent yes, depending on what facilities are on offer.

Cut and paste being a perfect example of where reducing everything to commandline fails terribly.

Well, copy/paste commands which extract text from the X11 clipboard and echo it do exist (I've even written one of my own), but I've never had much use for them to be honest. Copy/paste generally stays in GUI land for me. Though I mostly use it within a single editor instance.

In all fairness. C++ is a rather traditional language. GCC is a rather traditional system... Using gvim rather than a IDE to do C++ programming is super traditional.

Kinda. C++ still has ideas in it that most other langages have yet to adopt. Additionally, the new versions have all the modernish goodies like type inference, lambdas and so on. It's a system with a long history, to be sure, but then so is the Linux kernel. From a practical point of view, modernidiomatic C++11 is almost unrecognisable compared to what was state of the art 20 years ago.

Even vim itself is a long way different from the vi clones of years gone by. You can get a LLVM plugin now for instance which does fully integrated C++ autocomplete for example, something traditionally which is an IDE feature.

Mixed paradigm dynamic languages with libraries that tie them to web and database (i.e. 2010s equivalent of 4GLs) are newish.

Only vaguely. Ignoring the libraries part, I remember tinkering with Python in the 90s. And TCL fits the dynmic, mixed paradigm bill fine, even if it is in most ways truly hideous. As for libraries, well, PERL was there first. I'm not doing down the new ones, PERL is also vile, but the ideas and even the languages are not that fundementally new. That said, if I was going to be doing some sort of web service development, I'd probably reach for one of the newish dynamic languages with loits of libraries.

If you are talking performance then languages that take better advantage of today's processors than C++ make more sense.

Mostly I do image and data processing. Performance is generally important, but also C++ is about the best development environment for the type of thing I'm doing. I've tried matlab, octave, numpy/scipy and others and I keep coming back to C++.

Look at your setup and ask yourself what couldn't you have been doing 20 years ago? What fundamentally is different about what you are doing and what you would have been doing 20 years ago?

20 years ago was 1994. I was still using a BBC Master then (checking on wikipedia, they were discontinued in 1994 so I guess they were available cheap which is why I had one). If you're not British, then filling you in, that's one of the more capable 8 bitters. At work I used some HP thingy running CDE. Oh and the SGI. Oh the sgi. Seeing that demo stuff in 1994 was -mind blowing-.

But I'm not sure what you mean. Then as now, I spent most of my time typing code into some sort of editor. But the sort of things I can do now are much more advanced. The quality of languages has improved so I can write bigger, more complex things single handed. I can collaborate far better than I used to be able to (another thing---I'm a DVCS evangalist now). I regularly use algorithms invented only in the last decade. I can process whole videos, something almost unimaginable 20 years ago. My computer is also my music player as well, which is nice.

If you're asking if I would give up all the modern features, the answer is no, not a chance. Even with my 1994 era FVWM config (yes really, I started configuring it in 1994 at my first job and have been tweaking it ever since which is why I still have pre Win-95 syle window decorations).

Like I said, I don't hate change when it's for the better. I've been keeping up to date with the latest developments in GUI land, and I'm glad that people finally got around to implementing Copy/Paste as the ICCCM specified all those years ago so we could move more than just plain text around. But in terms of placing windows, FVWM has yet to be beaten.

For other parts of my setup, on the electronics end things are amazingly different. Were now awash with sub 3V devices whith integrated SPI or I2C busses which can be strung together to an insane number of different microcontrollers. This makes tiny low power coin-cell powered devices with in the range of a low-end commercial engineer or even or hobbyist. Though vendor tools have often not improved much since the 90s. But the stuff I can build now and the vendors and the tools available to help are just incredible.

On the hardware end, 3D printers are a complete game changer for me. They are just wonderful machines.

4 days ago



Ask slashdot: Clusters on the cheap?

serviscope_minor serviscope_minor writes  |  more than 2 years ago

serviscope_minor (664417) writes "Dear Slashdotters,

A friend of mine has recently started a research group. As usual with these things, she is on a shoestring budget and has computational demands. The computational task is very parallel (but implementing it on GPUs is an open research problem and not the topic of research), and very CPU bound.

Can slashdotters advise on a practical way of getting really high bang for buck? The budget is about 4000 GBP (excluding VAT/sales tax), though it is likely that the system will be expanded later.

The computers will probably end up running a boring Linux distro and Sun GridEngine to manage batch processing (with home directories shared over NFS?)."

Best removable storage filesystem for Linux?

serviscope_minor serviscope_minor writes  |  about 4 years ago

serviscope_minor (664417) writes "What filesystem do you use for portable disks, especially large ones, under Linux? FAT is simply not very good. Using a proper filesystem (e.g. ext3) preserves the read/write permissions of the original machine which is rather annoying when the disk is moved to a different machine with differet user IDs. So is there a way to have a good filesystem that supports all the unixy things such as symlinks, and an execute bit, but does not require lots of chown'ing as root when moved to a different machine?"

ARM Based netbook.

serviscope_minor serviscope_minor writes  |  more than 5 years ago

serviscope_minor (664417) writes "Shopping in Robert Dyas of all places (note to non English readers, this is a fairly generic hardware store and has only a small selection of electronics at best) I noticed Inkia ARM based netbooks being advertised, though careful readers will note that the specs seem to differ slightly. The specs are the usual netbook ones along with an 800x480 screen 64Meg RAM, 1G flash and a 400 (or maybe 533MHz) Samsung ARM processor and WinCE. So, it looks like the first non-x86 netbooks have arrived. Sadly, this one is rather expensive, being slightly cheaper than the EEE 2G, with a painfully small amount of RAM, less storage and battery power. But this brings up several interesting questions: are they going to get much cheaper, are there ones with more memory, and will it run OpenBSD? The specs are very similar to the Sharp Zaurus 3000 series which runs OpenBSD very well, but running Firefox in 64M is somewhat painful."

Liquid explosives: no danger and no plot.

serviscope_minor serviscope_minor writes  |  more than 5 years ago

serviscope_minor (664417) writes "It has already been established in a previous article that bringing down an aircraft with liquid explosives mixed on a pllane would be very difficult. The men accused of the plot werer brought to trial and a verdict has now been reached. There was not enough evidence to convice any of them of targeting a plane. So apparently, there was not much evidence of a plot that could not have worked anyway."

Good profiling tools for C/C++ unser un*x?

serviscope_minor serviscope_minor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

serviscope_minor (664417) writes "It should be well known to any developer that you should only optimize parts of a program which need optimizing. And the way to find those parts is through profiling. This simplifies one point: profiling is difficult. The obvious way is to enable profiling in the compiler and use gprof, but this has problems. Firstly there is no point in profiling a program without turning on -O3 (or which ever), since this can change the results dramatically. Secondly, -O3 will inline functions which can ruin profiling results by making them far too coarse. Even if it doesn't do this, there is no way of determining which part of a function is taking up all the time. So that brings me to my question: does anyone know of profiling tools which do not suffer from these problems? My platform is C++ (using g++) on Linux."

serviscope_minor serviscope_minor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

serviscope_minor (664417) writes "You heard earlier today that Dell will be shipping Ubuntu on selected models. Naturally, this is interesting to slashdotters. However, the interest generated by a wider audience will ultimately be more important. Well, apparently, this is the 3rd most popuar topic on the BBC at the moment. So apparently this is interesting to a general audience. I believe that this bodes very well for the future."


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